By Vernon Felton
We recently reported our first impressions of Trek’s new 29er Remedy and Fuel EX models. Today, Trek announced that they will soon also offer 650b versions of the Remedy and the Slash. In total there will be six 650b Remedy (three carbon and three aluminum) and three 650b Slash models (all of which sport aluminum frames).
The 160mm-travel Slash has been completely redesigned from the ground up with a focus on the emerging and demanding enduro scene. With a lower bottom bracket and slacker head tube than the 26-inch version, the Slash 650b provides a lower, longer position for the enduro racer. Impressively, the alloy frame weighs 350 grams less than its 26-inch predecessor.
The Remedy line adds 140mm-travel alloy and carbon 650b options to complement the 29er lineup launched in early June. The smaller-wheeled sibling was built around the nimble ride characteristics of 650b wheels to offer technical trail riders a more playful option alongside the more confidence-inspiring 29er. The Remedy 650b will be offered in both OCLV MTB carbon and Alpha Platinum Aluminum.
If you’re keeping count of these things, Trek is offering three 29er Remedy models in 2014–half as many as their 650b Remedy models. Does this signal a lack of support for the 29-inch wheel size?
If their marketing literature is any indication, no.
Trek is taking great pains to not claim that any wheel size is inherently superior to the next. Rather, each has its merits–depending on your riding style and needs, you might be a 650b fan or a 29er rider. While I hate quoting press releases verbatim, the matrix below is a very well-reasoned approach to the whole wheel size debate, so I’m snatching it directly.
"After a decade plus of alternative wheel size development, testing, refining, and debating, it's become clear that for trail riders wheel size is primarily about riding style," said Travis Ott, global MTB Brand Manager. "29" will be fastest for XC racing, but as we get into more trail riding, 650b and 29 can both excel on the same trail. Then it really comes down to how different riders tackle the same trail in their own way. So the Remedy now has the confidence-inspiring 29er option and the more playful 650b option. Then the Slash gets the new small wheel treatment with a ground-up 650b chassis."